Beijing Official Sees Damage if U.S. Ends ‘Most-Favored’ Role

United Press International

A senior Chinese official asserted today that withdrawal of a preferential U.S. trade status would cost China $10 billion a year, two-thirds of its U.S.-bound exports and ruin its economic ties with the United States.

The estimate by Vice Minister Shen Jueren of the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations and Trade was the first disclosed of the potential damage to China should the United States revoke the “most-favored nation” trade status.

“We don’t want this to happen,” Shen said in an interview with American correspondents. “It would have very great impact on China’s exports.”

President Bush has until June 3 to recertify China for the status. Its removal would raise tariffs on Chinese goods from the current 10%-25% to up to 90%, excluding them from the U.S. market.